Sunday, March 7, 2021 Worship Video

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Bulletin for Sunday, March 7, 2021

223 West College Avenue, Bluffton, OH 45817
March 7, 2021
Third Sunday in Lent
Rev. Katherine Beckett (567-226-1009) Church (419-358-5641)

No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!

People gathered around Jesus as his reputation became known from town to town. As we gather virtually, we too are yearning for presence, for peace, for help.

Prelude “Ah, Holy Jesus” P. 262

Welcome and Announcements

Song of Preparation “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” P. 96


One: We continue our Lenten “season of recovery” as we focus on health as essential to our spiritual lives.
Many: Vessels holy and whole. Broken, needing the one. Open body and soul. Healer, come.
One: Those who collect beach glass often become “archeologists”–seeking out any markings or clues as to the story of the original piece. It often takes much time to bring out the truth behind it. This week we acknowledge the power of truth-telling as a healing property. There are stories that have shaped our lives, leaving us without the ability to see who we truly are in the eyes of God and leaving us without the ability to speak the depth of our stories of struggle. We focus on the importance of recovery of mental health, reclaiming our sense of who we are and being able to proclaim new redemptive stories of divine worth.
Many: Vessels holy and whole. Broken, needing the one. Open body and soul. Healer, come.

People opened their lives to Jesus. We are drawn to the
Healer – opening our hearts with honesty and finding assurance that offers peace.

Opening Prayer of Confession*
One: Let us acknowledge our need to restore, repair, renew our Holy Vessels, and that the health of our minds deeply affects our physical and spiritual health.

Please join me in prayer:

Many: Centering and Calming Divine Breath of God,
You gifted us with amazing minds, capable of so many things. You gave us the ability to think and feel, imbuing us with discernment of thought and emotion.
Like our physical bodies, sometimes this aspect of our selves is beleaguered.
We struggle under the strain of disappointment, despair, and delusion. Too often we hide this, afraid of what others might think of our difficulties in managing or moving forward, even in the face of devastating circumstances. Too often we perpetuate the stigma of a less-than-perfect state of mind by shaming ourselves and others. Millennia of misunderstanding compounds our fear. We label and belittle, all the while turning the hatred upon ourselves, for no one is immune from troubles of the mind at some point. So many are suffering now, God, weary and distraught, grieving and at the end of their rope. We cannot fathom the proportions of loss and so we look away, sometimes even from the need in our own community.

Help us, Healer. Show us our capacity for compassion.
Forgive our inattention. Move us to move
one step at a time toward greater care for one another.

In this silence, we sense and acknowledge our yearning for wholeness.


Assurance of Forgiveness
Passing of the Peace

People were fortified by Jesus’ words and deeds that revealed
care for all especially those marginalized. We strengthen our belief in the possibility of renewed health and vigor for all.

Hymn “Will You Come and Follow Me” P. 350

A Contemporary Word

The author of this week’s contemporary word is unknown:“The courage it takes to share your story might be the very thing someone else needs to open their heart to hope.”

Scripture Matthew 9:27-33

One: Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Many: Thanks be to God!

Reflection: Stories Reverend Katherine Beckett

Holy Communion

People who were healed by Jesus were not afraid to ask. And so,
we come before the Holy One, making our petitions and our
desires known, trusting the work of the Spirit.

Prayers of the People and the Lord’s Prayer

Response to Prayer “There is a Balm in Gilead” (Refrain only)
P. 631

The parting words Jesus gave to those he healed were often as much balm as the act of healing itself. We hear encouragement from the One who makes beauty from brokenness.

Ritual Action

Scriptural accounts of healing often end with responses from the “crowd” of witnesses. How will we proceed into the brokenness of this world and respond as the Body of Christ?

Closing Hymn “Lord, Have Mercy” P. 375


Postlude “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” P. 255

*adapted from Worship Design Studio. Used with permission.

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2021 Vacation Bible School

Save the dates of Sunday, July 18 through Thursday, July 22, 2021 for the Bluffton Community Vacation Bible School.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church hosts this year’s VBS. The theme is Rocky Railway: Jesus’ Power Pulls Us Through. Further information will be shared as plans progress.

In conjunction with Bible School, please save your shoe boxes for special projects during Bible School.

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Blanket the World With Love

Throughout the month of April, St. John’s UCC will be collecting contributions for Church World Service blankets which cost $10.00 each.

In 2020, congregations provided 21,855 CWS blankets to families impacted by the pandemic, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and other crises including homelessness and poverty.

St. John’s can help “blanket the world with love” through continuation of our generous giving to this worthwhile project.

Remember, a Church World Service blanket is not just a blanket.

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Spring Ahead One Hour on March 14

Please remember to move your clocks ahead one hour on Sunday, March 14. It is time to spring forward to Daylight Savings time on the 14th.

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One Great Hour of Sharing Offering

One Great Hour of Sharing is one of four special mission offerings of the United Church of Christ. This Lenten offering supports the disaster, refugee, and development ministries of the United Church of Christ within the Wider Church Ministries.

St. John’s will collect the special offering on Sunday, March 14. However, if you are unable to contribute on the 14th, you may make your contribution any time during the month of March.

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Beautiful Law (Psalm 19)

Amistad Sunday/UCC Women’s Week, March 7-13

This week, we remember La Amistad. In 1839, the slave ship La Amistad traveled from one part of Cuba to another. The slaves on board were threatened by the cook, who said that he would kill and eat the captives. Led by Sengbe Pieh, a Mende man, the brave captives took control of the ship and demanded to be returned to Sierra Leone, their home country. Instead, they were taken further north, where the slavers hoped to encounter rescue in the form of an American ship. Another ship was indeed found, but those on board, with the help of anti-slavery activists, including members of churches that preceded the United Church of Christ, were able to successfully sue for the freedom of all the people on board.

No wonder the Amistad, with the faith, courage and steadfastness shown by so many, has become a symbol of the UCC. It is fitting, too, that the Chapel at the United Church of Christ Church House at 700 Prospect Avenue in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, is named for this ship and all that it represents.

Today, Amistad Chapel continues the legacy of the ship by being a place of sanctuary for all who worship there.

It is a place of marvelous beauty, inviting visitors in with delightful sounds of splashing water and the welcome of a table where all are fed. It is a place of prayer and quiet reflection in the midst of a busy downtown, and a community that gathers for worship to feed the soul. It is a place that tells a story in each design element and furnishing, which was carefully planned to tell the story of the Amistad and the captives it carried, whose struggle for freedom–“a story of faith and courage at sea”–inspired our Congregationalist forebears to stand with them in the fight against slavery.

You can find out more about Amistad Chapel by visiting in person or online at:

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Lenten Study

Weekly Lenten Study via Zoom

With the beginning of Ash Wednesday on February 17, a Lenten study is being organized and will continue for six weeks.  The study focuses on the book, Made for a Miracle, written by Mike Slaughter, former pastor at Ginghamsburg Church, Tipp City, Ohio.

Made for a Miracle examines the two components of every miracle:  divine action and human responsibility.  Pastor Katherine will lead the one-hour sessions via Zoom.  The study begins on Sunday, Feburary 21, at 9:30 a.m., and will lead into the worship service which begins at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

If you have an interest in participating, please contact Pastor Katherine or phone the church office at 419-358-5641. 

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Worship During Lent

Worship During Lent

            It is hard to believe that the season of Lent is upon us already.  It some ways it feels like we have been in the season of Lent for the past year. 

          Our theme for Lent is Holy Vessels, as each one of us is created by God to be a precious and holy vessel of embodied love.  We have been through a harrowing time since last Lent that has shattered our sense of wholeness-body, mind and spirit–like a glass fractured into many pieces.  As I sit and reflect on this, I visualize the broken shards of glass that wash up on the beach.  Tumbling around in the water, the shards’ rough edges have been smoothed into beautiful pieces.

During this season we will explore the healing narratives of Jesus that tell of divine solidarity with human suffering and remind us that we can begin a journey toward making something beautiful from that which is seemingly broken.  Beach glass offers us a multifaceted symbol of this transformative process and will be our visual for this season.

Join us online Sunday mornings at 10:30 for this journey of recovery.

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This Week at St. John’s UCC

St.John’s UCC will be closed to in-house worship from Sunday, November 29 through the end of March 2021.  You may listen to, and view, our weekly online service by accessing our web page and Facebook page: and by accessing YouTube.

On February 21, 2021,  A Lenten book study begins and continues for six weeks on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m., via Zoom.

Weekly worship services are available online via YouTube and the church web page:; and also on Facebook.  The services premiere at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday.


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